3 Ways to Create the Life You Want with Journaling

Create the life you want with Journaling
It’s no secret that I love journaling.

In fact, just last week I shared a post filled with 31 of my favorite journaling prompts for busy women.

My love of this simple practice has blossomed steadily over the past several years; it is such an incredible way to help you clear your mind, highlight your priorities, and uncover new ideas that you never knew you had.

After sharing my post from last week, I quickly learned that I’m not alone in my love of journaling.

In fact, I have heard from so many of you incredible readers who not only share a passion for journaling but who also want to take the practice to another level.

I received questions ranging from journaling strategies, to different journal types, to how to make the most from your journaling sessions.

It turns out you are as excited about journaling as I am, and I love it!

So I thought I would take a deep dive into journaling over the next few weeks and answer these questions one by one.

Sound good?


Then today we are going to start with a big topic: how to create the life you want through journaling.

Create the life you want with Journaling

3 Ways to Create the Life You Want with Journaling

1. Self Discovery: Create the Life You Want

One great way to make the most of your journaling experience is to dive deep into your dreams, your goals, and your “why.”

When we take time to write down our goals, reflect on our biggest aspirations, and consider why they are so important to us in the first place, we channel all of our excitement and motivation toward that goal; this makes the likelihood of us reaching our dreams much greater than if we did not.

Really, it’s true!

In fact, a study from the Harvard Business School revealed that “3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.”

10 times as much!?

I don’t know about you, but I like those odds!

By taking the time to write down your goals, feel your excitement, and reflect on the possibilities that come with those achievements, you’ll be well on your way to creating the life you want.

2. Clear Your Mind: Create the Life You Want

A journal is also incredibly helpful when your brain is full of thoughts swirling around in your mind.

Do you know those days when you have so much chatter going on in your head that you can’t think about anything else?

Have you ever struggled to stay focused because your thoughts race so fast that you can’t think straight?

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

Fortunately, this is where journaling comes in.

Whenever you find your brain is full, take some time to dump it out.

Whether you call this practice a brain dump, a thought download, or a free write, spending 10-15 to write all of your swirling thoughts down on paper can be an absolute game changer.

You see, when you turn your thoughts into concrete words on the page – when you download them from your brain if you will – you clear your mind to start functioning at top speed once again.

What’s more, this practice gives you some clarity when your thoughts feel a bit muddled. You’re able to find some distance from your thoughts and look at them objectively.

Give it a try; you might be surprised by what you find!

3. Brainstorm ideas: Create the Life You Want

Another great way to create the life you want through journaling is to brainstorm new ideas.

Whether you’re working on a new project at work, writing an article, or sorting through a challenge at home, brainstorming ideas is a great way to come up with innovative solutions.

What’s more, there are tons of great ways to have a fruitful brainstorming session.  Some of my favorites include:


Similar to writing an outline for a paper in school, creating a brainstorming outline is a useful way to organize your thoughts around one concrete idea. In fact, I used this very strategy when I planned out today’s blog post. It looked something like this:

  1. Topic: Different ways to use a journal
    1.  Introduction
    2. Journaling post from last week
  2. 3 different ways
    1. Self-discovery
      1. Goals
      2. Find your why
      3. Harvard study
    2. Clear your mind
      1. Free write
      2. Brain dump
      3. Thought download
      4. Make room for clear thoughts
    3. Brainstorm
      1. Outlines
      2. Make a List
      3. Word association

Make a List

Just as it sounds, this brainstorming strategy is all about making lists. I came across the idea when I read Journal to Self: Twenty Two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams.

Basically, you choose one topic or idea that you wish to explore, and then you make a list of 100 ideas related to that topic.

Yes; 100 Ideas.

And yes; you can do it.

In fact, the real magic starts to happen when you push yourself past the first 25 ideas and you really start digging into new ways of thinking.

And the best part is, you can make lists about anything!

  • 100 Reasons I’m successful at my job
  • 100 Ways I’m an incredible partner
  • 100 Ways to grow my business
  • 100 Ways to save for a vacation

The options are endless, and the realizations are incredible!

Word Association/Mind Map

Word association is another useful way to explore new ideas.

I like to start with my main topic in the center of the paper. Then, I start branching out from that central word to new related ideas like a spider web. Don’t worry if the words don’t make sense or clearly connect at first; the important thing is to simply write.

Once you finish the first round, now it’s time to find some connections.

Start circling words with similar ideas and draw lines to connect them to each other. (I like to use different color-coded pens because – you know – type A).

This practice will start revealing clusters of related ideas and will help you get your creative juices flowing.

This is a great strategy when you’re feeling stuck and need some inspiration to get moving in a new direction.

Whatever strategy you use, brainstorming can help you uncover breakthroughs you’ve never considered before. It allows you to see ideas in a new light and helps you lean into new adventures.

3 ways to create the life you want through journaling.

So what do you think? Are you ready to give it a try? Great! Then be sure to download this 31-day journal and get started today!

42 thoughts on “3 Ways to Create the Life You Want with Journaling”

  1. Shannon Graham

    Journaling has always been one of my go-to as a personal inspiration. I write down what I’m working on and then read back and see myself grow.

  2. I keep a journal by the bed but it ends up being more of that brain dump of thoughts and to-do lists. I have a hard time keeping myself truly organized but even just a brain dump journal is helpful!

  3. This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I haven’t picked up my journal for as long as I’ve had my baby (he’s not 11 months) and I am so sad about it. You just reminded me to try it again and do it in a more intentional way. I love the idea of the brain dump cuz like all mamas – I have a gazillion thoughts in my head. Great tips!

  4. When I was growing up it was called Dear Diary and now it is journaling. I have been doing this since I was a young girl and love to go back through them to see my own personal growth, answers to prayer and ideas which have come to fruition.

  5. I love these guidelines- especially the 100 things challenge! I never journal because I don’t know where to begin. Now I do!

  6. Journaling is my jam. I need to brain dump at least once a week. I love word mapping. It helps me to get creative. Having a traumatic brain injury my mind sends messages differently. Parts of my brain don’t ‘fire’ like everyone else. I need to get it out on paper. If I don’t it’s like my hard drive is full. Journaling has helped me keep track of my health and well being.

    1. I love that journaling has been so therapeutic for you, Deb. That is so incredible to hear!

  7. I enjoy journaling and keeping a notebook and pen at my bedside since I always tend to have my best ideas in the middle of the night or when I wake up. Haven’t done the word association exercise yet though, I need to try it!!

    1. Jennifer Brock

      Journaling helps me clear my mind and in turn helps me do better during the day

  8. I have been trying to be better about journaling, even if it is just a short grateful thought to refocus my mindset. This is a great post! Thanks!

  9. I love journaling. It’s so very true that it does all this and so much more. It is amazing that more people do not do this. It is perfect for everyone to self discover and brainstorm ideas. I hope this post reaches far and wide and wakes up pepole to the advantages of putting pen to paper.

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